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Monday, March 23, 2009

Economic Development Impacts of Renewable Energy

Form a presentation by Michael Vickerman at the 2009 Wisconsin Renewable Energy Summit, Milwaukee, March 25-28:
Economies of scale are achieved by shrinking the labor contribution relative to output, which explains why utility-scale energy is less expensive than do-it-yourself energy.

Distributing renewable energy through customer-sited systems increases job-hours per energy unit produced as well as promoting entrepreneurship and small business development. . . .

From Small Systems – Big Results in Germany:
+ Utilities are required to accept power from customer-sited RE systems through fixed, long-term buyback rates
+ 15% of Germany’s electricity now generated from renewables
+ In 2007 $14 billion invested in RE
+ Germany has half the world’s PV capacity
+ Payoff: 300,000 people employed in the RE sector.

And in Wisconsin:
+ 338 Focus on Energy-funded RE systems installed
+ 40% increase over 2007
+ $3.5MM incentives obligated
+ Full-service installers -- 35 PV; 24 biogas; 64 SHW; 21 wind; 15 biomass.

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